Clifford Hallingham, 67, of St. John's has been sentenced to four years in prison for sexually abusing a young girl for about a decade.

When the girl, who's now an adult, made her complaint to the RNC, Hallingham turned himself in and confessed. He later pleaded guilty to charges of gross indecency and indecent assault.

The Crown got the sentence it was seeking. The defence said three- to three-and-a-half years would be more appropriate.

Crimes 'far reaching'

In sentencing Hallingham, Judge Colin Flynn said sex crimes are far reaching.

He said the sexual abuse in the case was extensive, even though it did not involve intercourse.

Flynn added it would be an understatement to say the impact on Hallingham's victim was severe.

He said Hallingham's sentence must deter others, denouce the behaviour, and reflect society's abhorrence of such crimes.

The victim was seven years old when Hallingham began coaching her on how to give him sexual satisfaction, and the abuse went on for years.

Impact on victim

In an emotional victim impact statement, the woman told the court Hallingham had, "Robbed me of my childhood. Took away my dreams. I have nightmares and wake up crying."

She also said Hallingham took away her self-esteem.

"I can't speak up for myself, even when I'm not wrong," said the woman. "I would like to have one day without fear or anxiety because of the things done to me."

Hallingham had told the court he is sorry for what he did, and that he couldn't fight his urges.

Hallingham, who also cried, told the court, "I haven't been able to live my life in a normal way because of the extreme guilt I carry around. And I hope (the victim) will get some measure of relief and happiness knowing I have been punished."